BHP swoops on Canadian nickel miner, trumping Forrest – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – July 27, 2021)

BHP Group agreed to buy Noront Resources Ltd. to add a nickel project in Canada, trumping a bid by Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest, as the world’s biggest miner accelerates its push into metals poised to benefit from the green-energy transition.

BHP is increasingly gearing its portfolio toward so-called commodities of the future, as investors put greater weight on resource companies’ environmental credentials. The company is in the process of exiting thermal coal and is considering getting out of oil and gas.

At the same time, it’s putting greater emphasis on metals like copper and nickel, needed to support the green revolution. Last week it sealed a nickel supply agreement with Tesla Inc. and is expected to sanction a giant potash project later this year.

BHP’s cash offer values the company at $325 million (US$259 million), or $0.55 cents a share, and would trump a planned rival offer from Forrest’s Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd.

Noront’s board agreed to support the BHP bid, which is a 69 per cent premium to Noront’s closing price on Monday and 129 per cent higher than where the shares traded before Wyloo announced plans for its unsolicited bid.

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